Published: Mon, November 05, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Theresa May ‘strikes secret Brexit deal over customs union’

Theresa May ‘strikes secret Brexit deal over customs union’

Leo Varadkar's office released a statement after May called him on Monday morning in which he said while Ireland was open to the possibility of "a review mechanism" for the backstop, the United Kingdom could not exclusively determine how to use it.

"The taoiseach [prime minister] indicated an openness to consider proposals for a review, provided that it was clear that the outcome of any such review could not involve a unilateral decision to end the backstop".

Brexit talks have been deadlocked over the so-called backstop - the fallback position that would be activated if a future EU-UK trade deal does not produce a solution that would prevent a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

David Davis pointed out that Britain's attorney general Geoffrey Cox reportedly said that "any Northern Ireland-only arrangements for customs after Brexit could mean the Province was "torn out of the UK" and leave it "controlled by the EU".

Raab's plan would give the United Kingdom the right to ask for a "review mechanism" within three or six months of the so-called backstop taking effect, to allow it to continue only by mutual consent, the Financial Times reported early today.

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The Irish border has proved the biggest obstacle to a deal, with both sides vowing not to reinstate a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland for fear of destabilising the peace agreement.

Both the European Union and United Kingdom have agreed the need for a backstop, but not how it should operate.

But the government's Brexit department stated that they are confident there will be a deal that works for businesses - and reiterated their stance against a People's Vote.

The EU's deputy chief Brexit negotiator, Sabine Weyand, retweeted Coveney, saying: "Still necessary to repeat this, it seems".

She is instead pursuing regulatory alignment with the EU and a "backstop" which would keep the entire country in the Customs Union as a "compromise" - but this would effectively preclude Britain from regaining an independent trade policy after Brexit.

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Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab sparked fury in Dublin and Brussels after it emerged he had outlined the details of the breakaway clause during a meeting with Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney last week.

"These ideas are not backstops at all and don't deliver on previous United Kingdom commitments".

Earlier in the day, The Times newspaper reported, citing sources in London and Brussels, that May had agreed with Brussels to keep the United Kingdom in the Customs Union, thus removing the Irish border issue from the Brexit talks agenda.

"Theresa May came from "not in a customs union" to being temporarily in a customs union".

The Sunday Times claims the Prime Minister is optimistic that her secret plan will convince some remainer Conservatives and swithering Labour MPs to back the deal.

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